Chasing Vermeer


Chasing Vermeer written by Blue Balliet is about a girl named Petra and a boy named Calder who are trying to uncover an unsolved mystery surrounding the artist Johannes Vermeer. The beginning of the book started off strong. Everything seemed to fit together perfectly. As it got toward the middle, however, too many things were happening at once. There were numerous coincidences, so the book started to get confusing. Also, the end didn’t make much sense and was unrealistic. The language was easy to understand because of the words he used were not too complicated yet not too easy. The sentences in the book flowed nicely together and the writing style was superb.


The message this book is trying to send is that it takes just a bit of logic to uncover something amazing. In some ways I would recommend this book and in some ways I would not. I would recommend this book if you’re looking for an easy read or if you want to learn about the artist Vermeer. The reason why I would not recommend this book is because it takes a long time to get to the climax and when it does get to the climax, too many things happen at once.


Rating: !! out of !!!!!



“Chasing Vermeer is like frozen yogurt. It looks good, but once you start eating, you just want to throw up.”


-The Chicago Tribune


“Chasing Vermeer will have you sitting on the edge of your seat and turning every page.”


-Newsweek Magazine


“A moving and riveting thriller for all ages.”


-Time Magazine


“Chasing Vermeer is so boring, that you will be dead by the time you finish it.”


- The Boston Globe


“Fans of Johannes Vermeer will love this superb art mystery.”


-The New York Times



The two main characters in this book, Calder and Petra, barely know each other although they are in the same sixth grade class. When their teacher, Ms. Hussey brings the class on a field trip to an art museum, Petra and Calder are brought closer together through their love of art. When a famous piece of art called The Lady Writing is stolen, Petra and Calder try to solve this crime. The criminal is very sneaky and writes notes to major newspapers. Pretty soon, this crime has become a worldwide scandal not just about the stolen piece of art, but about the authenticity of all thirty-five of Johannes Vermeer’s works. Petra and Calder uncover amazing secrets about Vermeer’s life.


What is interesting about this book is that The illustrator, Brett Helquest, hid a pentomino puzzle in his illustrations. Pentominoes are a mathematical puzzle. There are twelve pieces to pentominoes and they can form many combinations of rectangles. Pentominoes play a very important role in this because they have a lot of meaning towards the book. Calder got a set of pentominoes for a Christmas present and when he pulls one out of his pocket, it always represents a clue to finding A Lady Writing.